Watch: Peter leaves his daughter in the first trailer for A.D.

vlcsnap-2014-11-26-13h42m52s105The first trailer for A.D., the semi-sequel, semi-reboot of The Bible, is here, and it delivers about what you’d expect: a replay of the events that were covered in the last two episodes of The Bible, violence between Romans and Jews, and so on.

It also hints at one story element that I don’t think I’ve seen in a Bible movie before: namely, a subplot in which Peter worries about his daughter, who likewise worries about him. A few films have acknowledged the brief reference in the gospels to Peter’s mother-in-law. But I can’t think of any that have mentioned Peter’s daughter, who comes not from the gospels but from later legends. So, it will be interesting to see what the new series does with that.

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Our first look at the cast for The Bible follow-up series A.D.

ad-jesusAt last, we know who some (but not all) of the actors will be in A.D., the NBC series that Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are producing as a follow-up to their hit miniseries The Bible.

First, People reveals that Jesus will be played by Argentinian actor Juan Pablo di Pace, and, just as Diogo Morgado’s Jesus in The Bible quickly earned the nickname “Hot Jesus”, so too People notes that di Pace is “easy-on-the-eyes”.

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Newsbites: Clavius! The Dovekeepers! Black Nativity! Book of Amos!

clavius-tomfeltonFour quick Bible-movie-ish items.

1. I somehow missed the fact that Clavius, which concerns a Roman soldier investigating reports of the Resurrection of Jesus, started shooting a couple weeks ago. Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, posted some photos to Instagram — and apparently he’s playing a character named Lucius, which also happened to be the name of Draco Malfoy’s father.

In addition to Felton and Joseph Fiennes, who is playing the presumably titular Roman investigator, the film’s IMDb page lists several actors who are playing well-known Bible characters — and at least two of those actors have extensive experience in the Bible-movie genre already.

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The Ascension of Christ in film: literalism, symbolism, etc.

Today is the Feast of the Ascension, when Christians remember how Jesus was taken up into heaven 40 days after his Resurrection. It’s one of the stranger bits in the Gospels — both difficult to understand, given our modern cosmology, and difficult to pull off visually — and most of what we know about it actually comes from the Book of Acts. So it’s not too surprising that most films about Jesus have tended to skip this episode.

Nevertheless, a few films have depicted the Ascension, often by mixing it with elements from other stories in the gospels, and even those that don’t depict it have often made a point of ending on a note that suggests Jesus has transcended this life in some way that parallels the Ascension. Here are a few examples.

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Darwin Shaw on playing St Peter (and a Lego Bond villain)

The apostle Peter is not the first biblical character that Darwin Shaw has played in his decade or so as an actor. You can see him briefly as Adam, in a new prologue to the Campus Crusade film Jesus (1979) that was shot a few years ago, and you can also see him as the “Semitic Jesus” in Gospel of Thomas (2009), an interactive adaptation of the Gnostic text that allows you to toggle between different actors. (Another actor plays the “Western Jesus”.)

But Peter is easily the biggest role of this sort that Shaw has tackled so far. He appears in all five of the New Testament-themed episodes in last year’s mini-series The Bible, and he will appear again this week in Son of God, the big-screen movie that consists mostly of footage from that mini-series but also includes a few new scenes.

I spoke to Shaw — whose credits also include Casino Royale (2006), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), John Carter (2012) and a deleted scene from Prometheus (2012) — by phone last week while he was in Los Angeles to promote Son of God.

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The Prodigal Son: three filmed interpretations (and more)

Today was the Sunday of the Prodigal Son in Eastern Orthodox churches, and once again, I found myself thinking about how our gospel reading for the day had been handled in different films.

The parable of the prodigal son appears just once in the Bible, in Luke 15, so of course it is featured in the word-for-word adaptation of that gospel produced by the Genesis Project in the 1970s. And just as the Genesis Project dramatizes some of the other parables while Jesus recites them, so too it dramatizes this one. You can watch the relevant sequence by clicking here.

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